Quest Deep Periphery Quest (Battletech Sandbox Empire Builder)

ShadowArxxy

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Omake: Return of the Periphery Studies

The thing about Periphery Studies protests is that despite their topics being bizarrely random and their logic questionable at best, there's no denying that they are both heartfelt and harmless. They are now protesting that you spend way too much on ground forces and that all real ground combat needs can be fully satisfied at a fraction the cost by replacing all existing armored vehicles, battle armor, and especially Battlemechs with "historically proven superior designs". They even brought actual functioning examples of these designs, in the form of lovingly detailed large-scale models. . .

. . . you're pretty sure those are pre-space Earth vehicles, and Sarah subsequently identifies them as something called a "Bob Semple". This was apparently a highly successful armored combat vehicle produced by one of the smaller nations of Earth during the global wars of the industrial era, which successfully deterred invasions by all of the larger powers. They are incredibly slow, noisy, and make for a surprisingly festive sight as several dozen advance down the streets of the capital surrounded by chanting protesters.
 
Turn 80 - Now I'm a Soldier of Fortune, I'm a Dog of War (yeah)

LordSunhawk

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Turn 80 - Now I’m a Soldier of Fortune, I’m a Dog of War (yeah)

The 1st Special Forces Division deploys to Okusawa directly into the operation, striking at a dozen confirmed ISF safehouses and facilities.

All of the facilities were destroyed, significantly hindering the capabilities of the ISF holdouts and insurgents. However this isn’t to say it was a complete success. In many ways, it was a minor disaster that prevented a far far worse one. One of the compounds hit was a chemical weapons site, and during the strike the insurgents fired off multiple barrages of chemical shells into the surrounding areas.

The gas was a fairly common VX derivative, deadly if untreated and with some lingering properties, but nothing all that special. But the facility itself had over a thousand tons of the stuff in the process of being loaded into mortar shells and rockets, and the actual gas release and chemical attack resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people outside the evacuation zone. Even worse, one of the weapons that they’d had hidden in the facility was a Long Tom, and they managed to fire it twice before it was destroyed. And one of the shells hit an elementary school ten miles outside the evacuation zone during recess, killing hundreds of kids. Worst of all a news crew had been at the school filming a general interest piece and caught the attack on camera.

Short-term, it is a PR debacle, however if that facility hadn’t been hit when it was, the results would have been far more catastrophic. Analysts indicate that given the stockpiles of precursor chemicals on hand, the number of shells and weapons available, and given enough time to complete their work, the ISF could have unleashed a chemical weapons attack that would have killed tens of million. As it is, things are bad, but your spokesmen are able to stress that it was the best of a menu of terrible options.

The short term upshot is that a significant blow has been delivered to the insurgents. They are by no means defeated, but their ability to unleash mass casualty WMD attacks has been eliminated. Long term, this should result in the insurrection failing under the weight of ordinary police tactics from the IGMP.

On Griffon, the Department of Periphery Studies sponsored ‘war’ in the parks around the Palace has sputtered to an end. You are rather worried about what they might come up with next.

You should have been very worried.

Mimes.

They have decided to become mimes.

This is horrifying enough that you decide not to think about it any further. That could lead to a mime-field of bad mime jokes and you really don’t want to mime-ic your dad too much in this regard.

Wait, you already are. Your grandkids are groaning at the horrible puns.

So there’s a silver lining to all of this.

Parliament is in session and the Imperial Senate is hard at work.

Legislation has been proposed that has some controversy but also plenty of support. Currently logistics support for the AFGE is sourced from commercial sources to the lowest bidder that meets quality requirements. That is all well and good, but it has over time resulted in a few massive conglomerates completely dominating the supply market for the AFGE to a frankly concerning level. Overall costs for perishable supplies as well as spare parts and such were creeping up as fewer and fewer companies were able to compete for the contracts.

Worse, in many ways, is that most of the current production capacity for perishable and durable logistical materials is almost completely automated, resulting in enormous profits for a smaller and smaller pool of ultra wealthy investors. This would normally not be much of a problem, but it has been determined by the Special Branch that there is a great deal of cartel-like behavior seeping into the system from both ends, costs to you are not dropping at a rate commensurate with the reduced costs to the vendors. Strictly speaking there’s absolutely nothing illegal going on, but it is the sort of thing that sours business relationships when discovered.

The Senate is certainly quite sour on the situation, or at least the Eldest is, and a number of Senators have rallied around the Eldest to write legislation dealing with the situation.

Under the proposed legislation, the Imperial Government would build dedicated Military Logistics Factories in various systems, then lease the factories to local firms at rates set by the Quartermaster Corps to produce the perishable and durable goods devoured by the military at frightening rates. The current system would remain in parallel, and if the megacorps currently dominating the segment wish to continue to profit off of the AFGE they’ll need to adapt. Local economies where such Military Logistics Factories are built would see significant ongoing economic benefits.

Needless to say, the megacorps involved are lobbying hard against the legislation. Unfortunately for them it is mostly landing on deaf ears. The total headcount of employees within one of the single most lucrative market segments in the entire empire is under five digits in length. The farmers and ranchers who supply raw materials to the megacorps testify about the immense downward pressure that they place on the food markets for the producers while not passing on the savings to the consumers, while the Quartermaster Corps produces documentation showing a steady decline towards the minimum standards of things like field rations and commissary supplies while costs continually rise, albeit at a rate somewhat below that of inflation.

Money does talk, and a number of Delegates to the Chamber are listening and opposing the legislation. They argue that the current system is stable and predictable, having withstood both market disruptions and enemy action, and that far less drastic action would be needed to correct the issues without throwing the baby out with the bathwater. These now megacorps in the sector all started out as small companies in what has not always been an at all profitable business, they have stuck things out for you through thick and thin and have earned consideration for their loyalty to the Empire. The long term contracts that the farmers and ranchers are complaining about have arbitration and renegotiation clauses, none of which have ever been activated by any of the producers.

The opponents argue that the main barrier to entry isn’t that the current players actively collude against new blood, but that the AFGE itself has entered into long-term contracts with the suppliers in order to drive costs down. New suppliers have to find market niches that are not already contractually filled. The Special Branch investigation shows that the megacorps involved do indeed compete on a relatively level playing field when those new niches open without any illegal conduct. The Quartermaster Corps documentation also shows that at no point have any of the megacorps dropped below any requirements, and in those instances where requirements have been raised the companies in question have swiftly met or even exceeded the new requirements, often at lower costs than initially estimated.

The megacorps aren’t opposed to shifting their business models, they just feel that the Senate proposal unfairly burdens them while subsidizing new competitors at the taxpayers expense. While they’d be able to buy into the new Military Logistics Factories and benefit the same as anybody else, they’d have to do so while maintaining their current facilities in order to meet their contractual requirements.

The Chamber proposes a somewhat different bill. The same Military Logistics Factories would be built and available for lease, with the same goals of spreading out production and the like, but the existing megacorps would be given preferential access to said Factories during the transition period as they shift their operations from their own to the leased facilities. Once production is fully shifted, the preferential access would sunset and the current megacorps would then compete on a fully level playing field for access to the Factories.
[]ActionResults
[]Support the Senate plan
  • Creates a new category of factories ‘Logistics’
    • Logistics Factories will cost $100,000,000.00 to build and take 1 turn
    • Logistics Factories draw from the same pool of available Factories as Mech, ASF, and Conventional Factories
    • Logistics Factories base upkeep is $10,000 per year
    • Logistics Factories Benefits
      • Core Worlds
        • Adds .0001% to system GDP per Logistics Factory in system
      • Peripheral Worlds
        • Adds .001% to system GDP per Logistics Factory in system
  • +5 Approval Rating
  • +1 Approval Change
  • -5 Politics
  • +1 Imperial Economy Rating
  • -5 Economy Event Rating
[]Support the Chamber plan
  • Creates a new category of factories ‘Logistics’
    • Logistics Factories will cost $100,000,000.00 to build and take 1 turn
    • Logistics Factories draw from the same pool of available Factories as Mech, ASF, and Conventional Factories
    • Logistics Factories base upkeep is $10,000 per year
    • Logistics Factories Benefits
      • Core Worlds
        • Adds .0001% to system GDP per Logistics Factory in system
      • Peripheral Worlds
        • Adds .001% to system GDP per Logistics Factory in system
  • For the next 10 turns
    • -1% Interest Rate
  • +5 Approval Rating
  • -1 Approval Change
  • +5 Politics
  • -1 Imperial Economy Rating
  • +5 Economy Event Rating
[]Veto both
  • -1 Approval
  • -1 Approval Change
  • -1 Politics
  • -10 support Imperial Senate
  • -10 support Chamber of Delegates
 

Jarow

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Holy shit I the chamber being reasonable or is there a catch I'm missing.
Purely mechanically, my understanding is that senate rolled really well (so they offer something good), and chamber rolled okay (which is a lot easier now that we've gotten them liking us. We were having problems because they didn't, trapping us in a cycle where they'd never do anything good for us.) The okay result combined with the great result basically means that the Senate offers something good, and the Chamber doesn't mess it up.


Now, for a mechanical summary of the differences between the options (I'll let other people talk about the less mechanical stuff):
Chamber VersionSenate VersionSignificance
  • For the next 10 turns
    • -1% Interest Rate
This is interest on what's leftover from the previous turn. It tends to float around 7%, and this turn made us $300m in our $19b budget.
  • +5 Approval Rating
  • +5 Approval Rating
Approval directly affects tax rate, which is where most of our money comes from. Both have the same though, so this doesn't really affect anything.
  • -1 Approval Change
  • +1 Approval Change
Approval change is the approval meta-stat. +1 to the stat doesn't really affect much though, given its affect is measured by how many multiples of 10 the roll is above/below the stat
  • +5 Politics
  • -5 Politics
Politics is the approval meta-meta-stat, which means it takes a really long time to actually affect anything, but can potentially do a lot. +/-5 is roughly half a success, so this change isn't really negligible.
  • -1 Imperial Economy Rating
  • +1 Imperial Economy Rating
Imperial Economy affects GDP of every system in the empire - but to a rather small extent (.01% per success). With the small number, this does pretty much nothing.
  • +5 Economy Event Rating
  • -5 Economy Event Rating
Economy even is the imperial economy meta-stat, and I believe also has a small effect on tax rate now? Either way, +5 is bigger than +1, but this is still less significant than the approval end of things.

Given the important part of the bill, the logistics factories (not that we'll have actions to make them this turn, given we need 7 new stations in New Port Royal), are shared in both the bills, and the other stuff is relatively minor, I'm going for
[X] Support the Chamber plan
which has a few noticeable boosts in exchange for a small portion of a secondary source of income for us.
 

Artifex

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[X] Support the Senate plan

While choosing the Chamber option would be more in line with optimizing the quest OOCly, it means that in story, we'd be giving the mega-corpos even more power since they can also get involved in the additional Military Logistics Factories, which is a hard-no from my side.

Too much wealth at one single point means a goddarned huge single point of failure. Suppose those oligarchs might (albeit rather unlikely as it might be) get taken down in a capital strike ... their corpos may or may not go under rather quickly without their direction and wealth (since I think they will make goddamn sure that the wealth those corpos generate will not be stuck in the corpo itself but rather in their own wealth assets).

Diluting the power / wealth to more people means that the failure cascade may be halted more quickly than otherwise. (as we could see with the Kraken-T final testing debacle).

Hence me going for the Senate option here.
 

AlphaOmega

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[X] Support the Chamber plan
I’m going to listen to Jarow seeing as he’s the expert and plan maker here.
About the Special Forces deployment: people seriously thought leaving this to regular police units was a good idea?
 

ShadowArxxy

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[X] Support the Chamber plan

While choosing the Chamber option would be more in line with optimizing the quest OOCly, it means that in story, we'd be giving the mega-corpos even more power since they can also get involved in the additional Military Logistics Factories, which is a hard-no from my side.
The problem with that is that you're aggressively demonizing companies that haven't done anything unethical, much less illegal. Unlike RL megacorporations, these companies *actually built* everything they have from scratch beginnings as opposed to zero-sum corporate maneuvering, and have in fact stuck out their necks repeatedly for the nation.

Going through with the Senate plan would basically be taking advantage of the long term contracts that *the government* initiated to save costs for *us*, and these companies have completely honored, in order to critically undermine their business.
 

Kilvanya

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[X] Support the Chamber plan



The problem with that is that you're aggressively demonizing companies that haven't done anything unethical, much less illegal. Unlike RL megacorporations, these companies *actually built* everything they have from scratch beginnings as opposed to zero-sum corporate maneuvering, and have in fact stuck out their necks repeatedly for the nation.

Going through with the Senate plan would basically be taking advantage of the long term contracts that *the government* initiated to save costs for *us*, and these companies have completely honored, in order to critically undermine their business.
But they are heavily abusing said contracts to wild extremes, this reigns them in and tells future contractees that fucking around will be found out and punished
 
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